How Does Reflective Practice Enhance Learning Education Essay

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First of all lets get familiarise with what it means by Reflective Practise. Reflective practice is a concept used in education studies and for the correct use of instructive strategies. This concept originated from the book The Reflective Practitioner  in 1983 which was written by Donald Schon.

Reflective practice is a continuous process which involves of critical situations in the learner life's experiences. As defined by Schon, reflective practice involves thoughtful consideration of one's own experiences when applying knowledge into practice while being supervised by mentors in the discipline. Reflective practice is associated with learning from experience, and is viewed as an important strategy for some professional roles which involves lifelong learning. Reflective practice can help an individual to develop personally, by improving himself with more and more practise and gaining expertise (Profession). [Schon D (1983), The reflective practitioner. Basic Books: New York]

The cultivation of the capacity to reflect in action (while taking action) and on action (after taken the action) has become an important feature of professional training programmes in many disciplines, and its encouragement is seen as a particularly important aspect of the role of the mentor of the beginning professional. Indeed, it can be confirmed that the "real" reflective practice needs another person as mentor or experienced supervisor, who can ask appropriate questions to ensure that the reflection goes somewhere, and does not get bogged down in self-justification, self-indulgence or self-pity. So the Reflective Practise enhances the learning process of the student, as the guidance provided by the mentor for that specific subject will encourage the pupil to work with more efficiency and more enthusiasm. Thus the learning process becomes much easier and interactive for both, the learner & the mentor. The behaviour of the learner can change if he is supervised or guided by the tutor as he can find the way out in some challenging situations. According to the recent survey results it is clarified that the results/grades of the students who were guided through the learning process are much higher then the learner who were not guided through their learning. It also affects the mental behaviour of the learner as he feels safe and secure for his/her results as they have been taught by experienced/qualified mentors. The learning capacity is also increased by the motivation from the mentors and they can learn the same thing within lesser amount of time with much more satisfactory work. Reflective practise is a challenging, demanding & often trying process that is most successful as a collaborative effort. As here the mentor and the learner puts on their combined effort to get the best possible outcome.

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Most of the time the reflective practice is viewed as a means by which practitioners can develop a greater level of self-awareness about the nature and impact of their performance, an awareness that creates opportunities for professional growth and development. As described earlier, awareness is vital for behavioural change. To gain a new level of insight into personal behaviour, the reflective practitioner assumes a dual stance, being on one hand, the actor in a drama and, on the other hand, the critic who sits in the audience watching and analyzing the entire performance. To achieve this perspective, individuals must come to an understanding of their own behaviour; they must develop a conscious awareness of their own actions and effects and the ideas or theories-in-use that shape their action strategies.

David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984. The model gave rise to related terms such as Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT), and Kolb's learning styles inventory (LSI).

Kolb's learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles, which are based on a four-stage learning cycle. (which might also be classified as a 'training cycle'). In this respect Kolb's model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people's different learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all.

Kolb includes this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle his experiential learning theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning, in which 'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations and reflections'. These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action which can be 'actively tested' in turn creating new experiences.

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We all know that learning is a continuous process no matter what the age, time and situation be, but there is always someone who is learning something new is his/her life which most of the times proves to be helpful to them in many ways. We begin by examining learning as a product and as a process. That latter takes us into the arena of competing learning theories - ideas about how learning may happen. We might also have heard of Alan Roger's (2003) helpful discussion of task-conscious or acquisition learning, and learning-conscious or formalized learning.

Learning as a product

When we pick up a standard psychology textbook from the bookshelf - especially from the 1960s and 1970s and you will probably find learning defined as a change in behaviour.  In other words, learning is mainly approached as an outcome - which is like the end product of some process. It can be also be recognized or seen.  This approach has the virtue of highlighting a crucial aspect of learning - change. Its apparent clarity may also make some sense when conducting experiments. However, it is rather a blunt instrument.

Reflective practice

To clarify what is meant by reflective practice, a working definition for the purpose of this discussion will be based on Clouder's view that: 'In its broadest sense reflective practice involves the critical analysis of everyday working practices to improve competence and promote professional development. ' (2000: 211)

The main link between the process of learning and applying it into reflective practise is the knowledge and experience gained on that specific content. Learning process gets the person familiarised to the content and makes him/her capable of putting that learning into actual practise. There are many different styles used for learning the content techniques which has been given by some highly known writers in the learning field (Such as Donald Schon, David Kolb, Honey P & Mumford.) As described in earlier sections mentors help the learners in learning the subject or whatever the learner is being trained for and he is examined at regular intervals by the mentor so both the learner and the tutor can know their positions in their field. The pupil has more benefits as he/she can ask for help in the subject area which can be resolved by the tutor. So the outcome from the learning process is much more accurate and fast then others learner who choose to learn alone without being guided or monitored by experienced professionals. So here we can say from the experiences that there is a strong correlation ship between the work or learning theories and the application of reflective practise to enhance learning.

My Preferred learning Style is Interpersonal Intelligence:-

This learning style mainly includes the ability to relate and understand others. As I try to see things from other people's point of view in order to feel how they feel and think. I also have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions & motivations. I have good organising capability with talent to encourage & co-operate in teamwork. People often find me as a team leader. For communication both verbal (Speaking) and Non - Verbal (Written & Body language channels) are preferable with good power on language.

With skills including such as a good listener (who can hear people's queries & suggestions), also with very good capability to understand people's mood, expression, intention & Feelings. Establishing long lasting positive relations with other people.

Personal Experience with different learning styles:-

While studying for a course known as IELTS - International English Language Testing Exam. This gives you a certificate by which you can certify your language (English) at many academic places globally. I had two options to choose from. One was to do it by my own which is same like 'Distance Learning' the other was to attend classes in which you are guided by a mentor. The mentor was an Activist who had plenty of experience. I chose the first option to try it with Distance Learning but was no one to answer my queries or to guide me the way ahead, which I think was the main drawback of that chosen option (Style). But after a few days I took the second option in which I was guided by a qualified mentor who can guide me through the process and help me make aware of the hurdles on the way. After my final test I had a very good result so I can say that choosing the right style is very important in learning process.

Situation resolved using Reflection:-

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Reflection is a part of reflective practise. Reflection is a process to review an experience of practise about making sense by understanding it clearly and making the judgements. Reflection is divided into sub-divisions like Reflection, Reviewing & Re-theorising. By personal experience I can say that I have learnt a lot through reflection, as working in a customer facing role many a times the customer is not fully satisfied with the product which they paid for. So to keep them satisfied I learnt many things from my manager like offering a substitute product also offering them complementary (free as samples) products and try to make the customer happy with the best we can. This has changed my behaviour towards customers as I can handle those problems arising in business. Thus we can manage what has gone well and what we can improve in future. My reaction was also affected slowly as I was being customer friendly in my new job. Satisfying the learning needs of the student and the tutor also marks that. This is also a part of learning process which we can apply to the reflective practise to enhance our learning and making it more effective. This also affected my overall performance in my work. As there is always a chance for improving which can generally be indentified and resolved by experience and applying new techniques.

Conclusion:-

Now we can say that there is a strong positive correlation between the work of learning theories and the application of reflective practise to enhance learning. With defining some personal learning and preferred leaning styles it is easy to know a person's know how, his interest and his way of learning things. This can be helpful to make him learn difficult things in an easy manner within less time period. The performance can also be measured which is best with appropriate learning styles of individual learners.